Turkey moved another step closer on Friday to transferring the trial for the murder of the Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia, a decision that would effectively kill the last case that rights groups hoped would serve a measure of justice for a grisly crime that shocked the world.
Turkey’s justice minister, Bekir Bozdag, voiced his support for the transfer requested by Saudi Arabia, which never recognized the legitimacy of the Turkish trial. Saudi leaders have said they consider their own trial, which wrapped up more than two years ago, the final word on the matter even though rights groups roundly dismissed it as a sham.
The final decision on the transfer will made by the court, probably during its next session, on April 7.
Mr. Khashoggi’s killing in Istanbul in October 2018 exacerbated already strained ties between Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and the end of the Turkish trial could facilitate recent efforts by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to improve relations with Saudi Arabia and its crown prince and de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman.
Turkey’s parliament on Thursday passed a law lowering the minimum required #votes for a party to enter parliament to 7% from 10%, in a move could reduce the likelihood of early elections this year.
President Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party and its nationalist MHP allies had presented the draft election law, which included regulations on parliamentary seat distribution in alliances between parties, to parliament on March 14.
The bill was widely expected to become law given the ruling alliance’s majority. It is set to take effect in about a year, suggesting Erdogan – whose opinion polls have touched their lowest in years – could hold off calling an early election.
Turkey has said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine is unacceptable but opposes the sanctions on principle and is not enforcing them.
Turkey’s economy, already battered by a currency crisis and soaring inflation, relies heavily on Russian oil, gas, trade and tourism.
Some 14,000 Russians have reportedly arrived in Turkey since the war began on Feb. 24, many carrying wads of cash due to blocks on their U.S. credit cards and challenges in doing basic banking. Realtors say many are using cash and converted crypto currencies to buy property as a safe investment.
Roman Abramovich, one of several Russian oligarchs blacklisted by the West, has also visited Turkey and two of his super yachts worth a combined $1.2 billion docked at Turkish resorts last week. Oligarchs could invest more, sources familiar with private talks have told Reuters.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Saturday Russian oligarchs and citizens were “of course” welcome and could do business in Turkey according to international law.
Billionaire Roman Abramovich is not an official member of the Russian team negotiating with Ukraine, but is present at the talks in Turkey to “enable certain contacts” between the two sides, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.